Advent: Joy

Advent is about the coming of Christ. The coming of Immanuel – God with Us.  Because of Immanuel God with us:

We have hope. We have hope because of despite what junk is in our past through Christ we can have a future. We have hope that no matter what is happening now we have a Heavenly, Father who wants the best for us and has a plan. We have hope of a future reward.

We have peace. Peace that is not contingent upon our current circumstances.  A peace rooted and sustained by Immanuel – God with Us.

We can experience unconditional love. Love that God demonstrated in a radical revolutionary manner. He sent His son to provide hope, peace, love and joy to his enemies. He reached out to us despite of our actions.

We can have true joy.  Joy that is not based upon our present circumstances.  A joy founded on the coming of Immanuel – God With Us

 

Advent: Love

At the heart of Advent is a radical revolutionary demonstration of God’s love for us. God created us for a relationship with him. Unfortunately, human reasoning and pride got in the way and derailed God’s plan.

In His  great love and mercy God relentlessly sought out his people who repeatedly rebelled and turned away.  God created  pathway to redemption and restoration by sending His son to Earth.

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18 ESV

Jesus is Immanuel – God With Us

When Love Was Born by Mark Schultz

Advent: Peace

Peace seems to be elusive.  We live busy, stressed out lives, especially this time of year. There are a million things to do, presents to buy, events to attend and guests to entertain. It is hard to find even a moment of peace.

Our nation has just endured  one of the most divisive  presidential elections in its history. Police have become targets of violence. Many cities have experienced demonstrations and riots in recent months. It seems that our country  is on the edge and peace is nowhere to be found.

Internationally we are facing a growing threat of terrorism. As the unrest in Syria continues the refugee crises multiplies. Each day brings another disaster. There is no peace.

There is hope. Peace can be found even in a tumultuous  world. We have peace because long ago Christ came into our world.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

We have peace because of God’s radical demonstration of love. We have peace be Jesus is Immanuel – God with us.

Advent: Hope

Today is the beginning is of Advent. Advent is a time for us to prepare for Christmas. It isn’t about shopping, baking, decorations or even preparing for the annual Christmas concert, play or cantata.

Advent is about what God did for us. It is about God’s Radical demonstration of love. Humans were created by God to have a relationship him. Sadly, humans rebelled. It was God who took the initiative to be restoration and healing to humans.

Christ came into a dark world so we might have hope.  A hope that endures even in the most difficult situations. A hope that isn’t based on our circumstances. A hope that gives purpose and meaning even when life seems pointless. A hope that is anchored in the past saving work of Christ, the on-going strength for today and the promise of future reward.

Risks

The Kapsiki people of Cameroon where so eager to have a copy of the Bible in their own language that 5,000 willingly risked possible attacks from Boka Haram to get a copy of the newly published Bibles. They Kapsiki believers were excited to finally have a Bible in their own language. As the convoy carrying the Bibles passed through villages people lined the road and cheered. The day of the official presentations thousands of Kapsiki dressed in their finest clothes packed a stadium for the presentation ceremonies.

Source: United Bible Society
Source: United Bible Society

In the U.S. most of us are fortunate to have at least one if not multiple copies of the Bible. We also have apps like YouVerision for our smart phones and tablets.  Do we show the same excitement for the privilege of reading God’s Word or is it just another task to  check off our daily to do list? What risks are you or I willing to take for God’s word? What risks are we willing to take to share His Gospel? Are we just going to do what is easy but are we willing to do the hard stuff?

15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.  Psalm 119:15-16

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Good Good Father

It seems that every time I turned on any form of music this song came up this week. As I was thinking about the lyrics I was thinking about God as a Father and Fathers Day. I know for some people Fathers Day is tough because they do not have a father, don’t have a good relationship or like me their dad has passed away.

The concept of God as Father was easy for me to understand. My dad wasn’t perfect but he was a good dad. One of the best things he taught me was that God was the perfect Father. Unlike my Dad, God always knew the best way to handle anything. God knew what I needed even when I might want something else or not like the what I needed.  Like my Dad, I know I can always go to God in good and bad times.

Good Good Father written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown of Housefires

Performed by Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

You are perfect in all of Your ways
Oh, You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You’re a good good Father

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

Publishing: ©2014 WorshipTogether.com Songs / sixsteps Music / Vamos Publishing / Housefires Sounds (ASCAP) / Capitol CMG Paragon / Common Hymnal Digital / Tony Brown BMI Designee (BMI) (admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)

 

We Will Remember

This song has been running around in my head the past couple of days.

We Will Remember by Tommy Walker

I will remember the deeds of the Lordyes, I will remember your wonders of old.  Psalms 77:11 English Standard Version